Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Always, always good

I don't know where to begin when I talk about Charles de Lint's books - they are wonderful! They are inspiring, evocative and well written, with memorable, very real characters, and they always evoke a sense of wonder. He writes novels and short stories, many of them set in his fictional town of Newford, Canada. One thing I love about his books is that they feature recurring characters. A main character from one book might have a bit part in another, or a supporting role, or star in a short story. Usually it doesn't even matter which order you read them in (and anyone who knows me knows what a stickler I am for reading books in order!). I would make an exception for this book, though.

Widdershins is a sequel to Onion Girl, so definitely read that one first. And I'd even start with some earlier books, just to get to know some of the other characters a bit better before you start with those, because with that extra background the books will have more meaning.

De Lint's books often (but not always) center on characters who are artists or musicians, and there are almost always elements of Native American religions and mythologies. Everything is connected, and the plot tends to spin off in unexpected directions. One of the central conficts in Widdershins is the enmity between the "first people" -- spirits from the Native American tradition, like crow people and decendents of Coyote and Raven -- and the creatures of Faerie, who immigrated to the New World hundreds of years earlier, but are forced to live in towns and cities, leaving the wild places for the native spirits.

Lizzie, a fiddler from a Celtic band, gets on the wrong side of a group of bogans bent on exacerbating the situation, and when she interferes, she becomes swept up in a chain of events as inexplicable to her as they are dangerous. Meanwhile Jilly, as recovered from her recent car accident as she's likely to get, is drawn into the situation when she and Lizzie mysteriously vanish from their beds in the night. Their disappearance exacerbates the brewing enmity, which quickly escalates to the brink of an outright war. Geordie (finally) recognizes his true feelings for Jilly, but she is in a place far from his reach, a place where she must confront the deepest fears from an abusive childhood in order to escape.

You know a book's good when 560 pages aren't enough!

Widdershins by Charles de Lint (Tor, 2006)

4 comments:

  1. I am reading Dreams Underfoot right now and really enjoying it. It's a collection of short stories, all taking place in Newford. The only other book I've read of de Lint's is The Little Country - absolutely loved it. I have two more on my shelf, but not Widdershins. Your review was great - can't wait to read the book.

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  2. The Little Country is the first one I read of his -- in fact, I've been thinking about rereading it, since it's been such a long time. I'll be curious to hear what you think.

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  3. I LOVE deLint...I have this one on the way to me as we speak ;) I may have to save it for awhile though. I haven't read any of the Newford books yet, and while I've been told that you can pick them up anywhere, it's also been suggested that I really should read The Onion Girl first. So I think I'll read The Onion Girl and then dive into this one. Looking forward to it.

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  4. Yes, definitely read Onion Girl first. I kind of envy you getting to read the Newford books for the first time! I'll be looking forward to hearing what you think of them.

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